For us music geeks the sad news this weekend that Peter Green had passed away came as a real blow. May folks may not know who he was, so here’s a quick recap. He was the guy that replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Still not ringing a bell? He was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac. Surely, you’ve heard of that band!
Of course, the version of Fleetwood mac you probably recognize is not the original group. Seems that back in 1966 (I won’t mention who young I was) Peter left the Bluesbreakers taking drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who had only been with the Bluesbreakers for a few weeks to start Fleetwood Mac as a blues band. Fleetwood Mac didn’t really become the commercial juggernaut of rock/pop fame until Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham came along a bit later.
Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum; 29 October 1946 – 25 July 2020) was an English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green’s songs, such as “Albatross“, “Black Magic Woman“, “Oh Well“, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” and “Man of the World“, appeared on singles charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.
Green was a major figure in the “second great epoch” of the British blues movement. B.B. King commented, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” Eric Clapton praised his guitar playing; he was interested in expressing emotion in his songs, rather than showing off how fast he could play and used string bending, vibrato, and economy of style.
Rolling Stone ranked Green at number 58 in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. His tone on the instrumental “The Super-Natural” was rated as one of the 50 greatest of all time by Guitar Player. In June 1996, Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)
Peter was featured on the Bluesbreakers album A Hard Road in 1967 with two of his songs making the album. One of which is featured below. I have also featured one of my favorites of his originals here.
It seems that Peter may have really messed his head up with a bad acid trip in March 1970 while in Munich. Most reports say this was the beginning of his mental illness issues. He did spend time getting treatment and managed to get back to playing about 1979.
In 1988 Green was quoted as saying: “I’m at present recuperating from treatment for taking drugs. It was drugs that influenced me a lot. I took more than I intended to. I took LSD eight or nine times. The effect of that stuff lasts so long … I wanted to give away all my money … I went kind of holy – no, not holy, religious. I thought I could do it, I thought I was all right on drugs. My failing!”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)
He was 73 when he died in his sleep on the 25th of July, 2020. He will be missed.